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Shirley Heath, which had been granted by copy of Court Roll in 740; and a Mr. Crook, who now claimed these pits, brought his action of ejectment, which was tried at Kingston in 1805 ; upon which a verdict passed in his favor.
The power of the trustees having been established as to the investment, they applied to Parliament in 1806 for an Act to enable them to sell these lands, and out of the purchase money to build a Court house, to rebuild the butter market house, and to buy a piece of land for a new burial ground. The lands having been accordingly disposed of, the trustees proceeded to carry the intended improvements into effect, when a difference of opinion between them and the inhabitants at large unhappily prevailed respecting the plans and the execution of them ; so that the progress of the work was obstructed till after the vestry on Easter Tuesday, at which meeting, the choice of the trustees (with the exception of one churchwarden chosen by the vicar) being vested in the parishioners, most of the former ones were displaced, and others chosen in their stead ; with respect to the choice of a new churchwarden, there was a very violent contest, the effects of which have not entirely subsided at this present time. In the evening of EasterTuesday, the following Notice was published and sent to the houses of most of the principal inhabitants of the parish, and circulated in the town.
Croydon, 31st March, 1807.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A most daring and unprecedented attempt having been this day made at vestry, to defeat the ancient custom of re-electing the junior church warden for the succeeding year, by nominating Mr. Brown to that office, in direct opposition to the opinion of the most respectable inhabitants.
You are, therefore, earnestly called upon to attend the poll, demanded in favor of Mr. Newton, to be taken from ten till three at the vestry-room, to-morrow and succeeding days, in order to frustrate the views of a designing party, intent on the destruction of good order, by overturning the usages, disturbing the peace, and endeavouring to throw an unmerited censure upon the conduct of the late trustees, unanimously appointed to carry into effect the various important improvements in the town of Croydon ; to whose gratuitous labours it is manifest these valuable advantages are chiefly
attributable, and which this party, if they succeed in their views, would greatly impede, if not entirely overturn.
The impartial and independant part of this parish will thus clearly see, that the real point now in dispute is not whether Mr. Newton or Mr. Brown shall become church warden, but whether every evident important improvement in this large and populous town, shall be interrupted by such frivolous difference of opinion."
The polling continued several days, and at the conclusion, the majority were on the side of Mr. Brown ; but upon a scrutiny as to legal votes, the number appeared in favor of Mr. Newton : Mr. Brown, however, by caveat at the visitation, prevented Mr. Newton from taking the oath of office, and became himself the church warden.
This change of men produced a change of measures ; the new trustees abridged and materially altered the plans.-Of the buildings at this time proposed to be erected, we shall make due mention in their proper places.
THE first Croydon Register, says Doctor Ducarel, bound in Russia leather at the expense of Isaac Heard, Esq. late of the Herald's office, is still in good preservation. It commences in 1538, when Cromwell, vicar-general, gave an order for parish Registers to be kept throughout the kingdom.
It appears from this Register that the number of persons who died of the plague, and were buried at Croydon in the 17th century, was very considerable ; between the months of July 1603 and April 1604, it amounted to 158; in the year 1625, to 76; in 1626, to 24; in 1631, to 74: between the 27th July, 1665, and the 22d March, 1666, the number amounted to 141.
There is in the Register a memorandum, stating, that “ from the 11th to the 18th of August 1603, 3054 persons died of the plague, in London and the liberties thereof, and that many died in the highways near about the
citie:” and that also " from the 25th of August to the 1st of September, 3385 persons died.”
In the Register are to be found, several instances of longevity; one woman aged 99 years ; two women aged 100 years; one man and one woman aged 101 years; one woman aged 105 years.
The Register contains the name of Alexander Barkley, who was buried on the 10th June 1552, He was of Oriel College Oxford, and afterwards became a Monk of the Benedictine Order at Ely, and of the Franciscan at Canterbury. He wrote an imitation of the well known poem of BRANDT, called Navis Stultifera, the Ship of Fools.
It appears from a line of this poem quoted by Warton in his History of English Poetry, that Alexander Barkley lived at Croydon in his early days;
“While I in youth in Croidon town did dwell."
He published also a work against John Skelton, Poet Laureat to Henry VIII. the lives of some of the Saints, and other performances.
In the Register are entered the funerals of